He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
As we age, we are more susceptible to bruises. Bruises are caused by an injury to the capillaries, the tiny blood vessels that transport nutrients between blood vessels and surrounding tissue. Skin and collagen protect the capillaries, but as we age, that protection thins leaving the capillaries vulnerable to damage. When the capillaries break, blood leaks from them leaving a bruise. I often find a huge bruise, but cannot remember how I got it. Bumping into something is common for me as my balance is off. I’m like a pinball bouncing from wall to wall and doorway to doorway. My hips, arms, and shins sport bruises of all sizes. I stub my toes. Even my head gets bruised as I knock it into cupboards or drawers. Though my hair covers it, I can still feel it. And it hurts. Experts say that rest, ice, heat, compression, elevation, sunlight and massage can help to heal a bruise. Mostly, it just takes time for the blood to be absorbed back into the body and disappear. I was talking to a friend yesterday about recent changes in our community, most of which have been visible after Hurricane Irma. Everyone seems anxious and on edge. Spending is down. Tourists are not here yet. Events are not well attended. The world just feels off kilter. Compounding the stress that the hurricane caused both before, during and after its arrival have been the multiple mass shootings around the United States, political turmoil, economic troubles and lack of civility among our leaders. We agreed that it is like we are all bruised, emotionally, physically and spiritually. My friend noted that when in stress, our adrenal glands work overtime to help us cope, but they can only do that for so long without breaking down. We are bruised and broken. We have less money to spend as purchasing hurricane supplies and restocking our refrigerators depleted bank accounts. We have less tolerance because we are anxious; besides our leaders are intolerant, isn’t it okay for us to be, too? We are afraid to go outside or to public places for fear of violence. Even church is not safe. Political upheaval leaves us feeling unsteady. Who is in charge? What trouble will they start? It will take time for our bruises to heal. It will take time for our brokenness to repair. In the meantime, recognizing everyone is bruised in some way whether we can see it or not is important. Choosing to be kind to each other even when we don’t feel like being kind; encouraging and massaging each other’s spirits and hearts promotes healing. Refusing to hide inside in the dark and instead seeking the light and fresh air are also critical. Most important is taking our bruised and broken hearts to the Great Physician. To Jesus, whose own body suffered and Who understands our needs. He is the only one who can ease the ache of turmoil and tragedy. Even when the bruise is the deepest.